What Does the Word “Ayurveda” Actually Mean?

Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term.  Sanskrit is the language of Ayurveda and it is the oldest written language on the planet.  The term Ayurveda comes from the roots Ayus and Veda.”  Ayus may be translated as life and veda as knowledge.  Hence, Ayurveda is the knowledge of life.

The terms knowledge and life require deeper explanation.  Genuine knowledge is not simply the understanding of facts but a deep knowing of truth. To know something means to become one with the knowledge.  This is the highest form of knowing and is called direct perception.

Life is more than that which invigorates and animates the body.  It is also that which invigorates consciousness.  It exists in both a gross and a subtle form.  The gross form ends when we die.  The subtle form is immortal.  It proceeds from lifetime to lifetime, carrying with it our karmic seeds.  Ayurveda is thus the science of life, both gross and subtle.

Excerpt from “Principles of Ayurvedic Medicine,” by Dr. Marc Halpern, Founder and Director of the California College of Ayurveda